When you are a parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder, you worry about the child’s future as an adult. Will they be able to live on their own? What happens if a parent is no longer able to care for their adult child? Canadian psychologist Dr. Lillian Burke believes only 3% of adults with Asperger Syndrome are able to live independently with no support. With this statistic in mind, what services and supports need to be in place to make the transition from the parental home to independent living? Can independent living be an option?
iPads are becoming increasingly popular with the special needs population. We are discovering that using this accessible technology opens the door for increased communication, learning and independence. There is a new project called the Mission Project which has launched an iPad Initiative. It is an innovative program designed to teach adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities how to use an iPad to: increase independence in their daily lives, connect socially within & outside of their community, find new & appropriate activities of leisure, further their education with new & meaningful information, and improve management of their health.
One of the greatest fears a parent of a child with autism has is how and where will their child live when they are no longer able to take care of them. What will their adult lives look like? How will they spend their day? What does a meaningful life look like in adulthood?
I attended an excellent presentation this week given by Neil Walker of Kerry’s Place Autism Serivces (KPAS) located in Southern Ontario. Neil described the KPAS philosophy which I’d like to share with you because it has been a big part of the KPAS success story and positive outcomes for those with ASD. Their values could be adapted to any new organization wanting to provide services for adults or be the guiding principals of what parents should be looking for in order to ensure a high quality of life in adulthood.
This past week Adult Life with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Self-Help Guide was published by the Autism Calgary Association. I was one of six authors who wrote this guide. Being involved in the research for this guide was a real eye-opener because I was unaware of the issues that needed to be addressed when facing adulthood.